Background: The usefulness of the nutritional screening tool Minimal Eating Observation and Nutrition Form - Version II (MEONF-II) relative to Nutritional Risk Screening 2002 (NRS 2002) remains untested. Here we attempted to fill this gap by testing the diagnostic performance and user-friendliness of the MEONF-II and the NRS 2002 in relation to the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) among hospital inpatients. Methods: Eighty seven hospital inpatients were assessed for nutritional status with the 18-item MNA (considered as the gold standard), and screened with the NRS 2002 and the MEONF-II. Results: The MEONF-II sensitivity (0.61), specificity (0.79), and accuracy (0.68) were acceptable. The corresponding figures for NRS 2002 were 0.37, 0.82 and 0.55, respectively. MEONF-II and NRS 2002 took five minutes each to complete. Assessors considered MEONF-II instructions and items to be easy to understand and complete (96-99%), and the items to be relevant (87%). For NRS 2002, the corresponding figures were 75-93% and 79%, respectively. Conclusions: The MEONF-II is an easy to use, relatively quick and sensitive screening tool to assess risk of undernutrition among hospital inpatients. With respect to user-friendliness and sensitivity the MEONF-II seems to perform better than the NRS 2002, although larger studies are needed for firm conclusions. The different scoring systems for undernutrition appear to identify overlapping but not identical patient groups. A potential limitation with the study is that the MNA was used as gold standard among patients younger than 65 years.